The New Year’s Day Downer

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To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the whole New Year’s shtick. When I was single, I dreaded New Year’s Eve because there was far too much pressure on it. If the evening didn’t play out like my favorite chick-flick movie and end with a kiss worthy of an orchestra swell in the background, the whole night felt like a complete bust.

Once I made it through a disappointing New Year’s Eve, I had to contend with the buzzkill that is New Year’s Day – the day I’m supposed to resolve to be so much better than I am. And I’d like to be that idealistic version of myself and I could probably do it – if only my pesky imperfection didn’t always seem to get in the way.

These days I don’t dread New Year’s Eve anymore, mostly because I don’t have to get jostled around in a crowded New Year’s new year's eveEve party in hopes of finding Mr. Right. Thankfully, he showed up more than 15 years ago and is now playing with our kids and their new Christmas toys. Our idea of a great New Year’s Eve is awesome take-out pizza and a movie on the sofa – no crowds required.

But I still don’t care much for New Year’s Day. For me, it feels as if some big, invisible teacher is handing out assignments and I better get to work on them right away if I have any hope of making a good grade and being a better person by year’s end.

January 1st is so heavy with “should’s” – I should exercise every day; I should cut out sweets; I should accomplish more each day; I should meditate; I should get more sleep; I should save more money. The list stretches out so far in my mind that it seems like an impossible road to travel.

To try to break out of the New Year’s Day funk, I went online recently and did a Google search for inspirational quotes about the New Year, hoping someone’s words would make the first day of the year feel less daunting. While there are some moving words about New Year’s Day uttered by significant historical figures as well as funny celebrities, none of them captured what it is I really wanted and needed to hear.

So I’ve resolved to write my own. If the words happen to help you, too, that would truly make January 1st a real success for me. Here goes:

“You are good enough – just as you are, right here and right now. You don’t have to completely overhaul yourself to be worthy of your life. Enjoy it. Treasure it. Use it to do good things. But also remember that you’re a human being, not a programmable productivity machine. Your worth is not measured in a resume or a bank account or fame or a pant size or any of the things the world tells us is so important.

If there are things you want or habits you want to change, know with confidence that you can do it – not because you “should,” because the “should’s” will suck the motivation right out of you. Do them because you can and you want to. When you want them badly enough, you’ll find a way.

In the meantime, revel in the knowledge that no matter how imperfect you are or how many times you mess up, you are still a child of God. And that makes you good enough.”

From my family to yours, have a happy, healthy, blessed New Year.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

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